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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Look What the CAT Dug Out

We have a new topographical feature on our ranch. I call it Mt. Dirt, a man-made pile of topsoil, clay and crushed granite that looms over our newly-dug home foundation

The action began early this morning when a flatbed arrived to drop off septic pipe and electrical conduit and nearly dropped off our culvert into Cable Creek. Fortunately, the weight of the truck compensated for the spinning right front wheel of the cab, and it lurched across our bridge and moseyed up our driveway to the building site. Then, time stood still for a couple of hours. Inaction ruled the morning.

At noon, Scott Dawson, our building site manager, arrived to set up a silt fence on the west edge of the big dig. County requirement, though there's no water on the western side of our building site for silt to slide into. A half-hour later, a flatbed hauling a big CAT backhoe and a trailer with a trenching attachment inside pulled up to the intersection of the county road and our driveway. Much maneuvering. Then, the CAT was driven off the flatbed, across the culvert, and up the road, led by Scott and escorted by me on my ATV. I pulled around to the head of the convoy, and glanced back over my left shoulder at the first switchback; the CAT was gone. I looked over my right shoulder, and it was climbing the hill to our home site like, well, a cat.

I got to the homesite just before the CAT, which soon swung into action, digging along the spray-painted outline of the house and garage. Two hours later, the foundation space for the house was excavated and the foundation line around the garage slab was dug out. We lost one modest-sized pine and a few small sarvisberry bushes, along with a handful of old tree stumps. But, we gained a foundation.

After changing the CAT digging head, Lisch Excavation started digging the electrical/telephone wire trench. I had no idea how deep and wide the trench would be.

Not the Grand Canyon, but pretty impressive. They got most of the way down the hill, trenching and laying conduit and wire, before stopping for the day. Lisch will finish up and Kootenai Electric Cooperative will inspect their work tomorrow. The excavation is drying quickly, and concrete could be formed and poured by close of business Thursday. Moving right along.

Some day, Mt. Dirt will be nothing more than backfill.

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